‘Pokemon’ warning greets area drivers
A popular new smartphone game linked to recent accidents prompted state transportation authorities Wednesday to warn drivers not to play and drive.
One of the warnings, which appeared on about 50 of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 200 digital message boards statewide, greeted local drivers Wednesday on the message board at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road.
“Beware the Pokemon,” it said. “Don’t game and drive.”
Sam Cole, CDOT spokesperson, said he came up with the idea for the “Pokemon Go” warning, though he declined to take credit for the chosen slogan. The idea occurred to him, he said, because the recently released game is becoming so popular he figured some drivers would start playing and driving.
“I suspect it’s happening out there (already),” Cole said.
And while Cole didn’t know of any Pokemon-related accidents in Colorado, they are occurring in other states.
A driver crashed into a parked police car in Baltimore about 3:30 a.m. Monday and later told police he’d been playing “Pokemon Go” at the time, according to a USA Today story. Two men fell off a bluff outside San Diego less than a week ago while playing the game, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Cole said the warning coincided with the weekly posting of the state’s traffic fatalities, which occurs each Wednesday on the digital boards and is always accompanied by a safety message. The Pokemon message was only scheduled to appear Wednesday, he said.
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.